Everyone warns you about the dangers of fruit salad: teachers, the television, parents; “This is your brain” gorgeous, former teen star holds up an egg then cracks it, “this is your brain on fruit salad”.
Ever the straight shooter, I took this warning to heart and consequently, my whole life, I have avoided fruit salad like the plague. At parties “Hey there’s cantaloupe around the back”, out on the town “This kiwi fruit makes me so happy, I just love you, do you want to share?” at clubs from a twitchy young man, “Do you want to try papaya?”
Ok that last one was an exaggeration, I have only been to one club where I’m certain people were indulging in papaya. It was at a work function in the women’s washroom, and two girls exited the same bathroom stall. Instead of reaching the obvious conclusion, I said “Oh you’re friends! Good friends!” in a cheery voice. The two young women smiled at me and then laughed uproariously as they tipsily made their way out of the bathroom without washing their hands.
My experience with fruit salad is so limited that once during university, I mistook a bag of cantaloupe for desiccated broccoli. A young man, while visiting my residence room with a mutual friend, had accidently dropped the goods which then got kicked under my bed. I discovered the bag while cleaning, and horrified by my apparent lack of housekeeping abilities, I took it to the aforementioned mutual friend whose room was always spic and span. “How could it possibly been this long since I tidied there?” I howled shaking what I thought were dried vegetables at her. “Don’t worry about it” she said “also, I’ll take that.” Suffice to say, the fruit salad underworld and I are not acquainted. This was how, one night last year, I accidently sold cantaloupe.
At the time, my kitchen window opened to the doorway of a Frat house. I had a wonderful view of all the goings on without the surround sound experience of living in the giant multiplex. By contrast, my neighbour who lived upstairs to the rambunctious young men was privy to their every action, including their weekly cantaloupe habit. She was sometimes forced to lay wet towels over her vents in order to prevent her apartment from being “juice-boxed”.
The night in question, my friends Jared* and Beth* were visiting after returning from a three year trip around the world. The wildest nights of my life have been spent with these two and I was looking forward to a raucous and fun evening. They arrived and after about two mugs of Baileys on ice for each of us, Jared looked at me and asked “M’lady, do you know where I might procure some melon?”
I shook my head sadly at him and confessed that I didn’t. Although I personally eschew all forms of fruit salad, I understand that others sometimes enjoy it. “Wait” I said suddenly thinking of my poor next door neighbour being juice-boxed in her own home, “that’s a lie, I do.” I stood up and walked from the living room and into the kitchen where my new roommate Meredith** was cooking supper. I pointed to the doorway outside the kitchen window “Those boys there have some.”
“Excellent” said Jared “I won’t be a minute” and he shrugged on his jacket then walked out the front door. My friend wasn’t lying, within ten seconds, Jared was at the Frat boy’s door, his jovial bonhomie immediately transforming the Frat boy and himself into fast friends. After a short interaction, Jared was back at my entranceway, hanging up his coat. “He’ll be back in five minutes with the cantaloupe” my friend said, rubbing his hands together in excitement.
“Pardon?” I squeaked. My experience in “deals” up until that point had been through my father. Naively, I thought that a fruit salad deal was like a business deal- the two parties met up over a lunch to discuss the transaction, shook hands and then agreed upon a date in the future for said event to occur. This along with my uptight, Sunday school teacher appearance may have been part of why no one ever offered me papaya or kiwi fruit while in a club.
“He’s coming here?” I squeaked again in disbelief. It was then that it dawned on me that I had become a pusher of fruit salad. Realizing that my new roommate may think that she’d moved into an apple den, where creatures of the street came to carouse and party, I rushed from the entranceway into the kitchen, grabbing Meredith about the midsection in a tight and drunken hug, I stage whispered “I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to sell the melon” and then I proceeded to explain my theory about business deals being like salad deals. Meredith smirked at me, “It’s fine, as long as Jared doesn’t do it in the house.”
“Oh, never” I cried and then returned to ask my guest if he could sample his goods in the backyard, ideally away from the eyes of my elderly Italian neighbour who was kind enough to lend me his sharpened hoe to chip ice from my front walk on occasion.
Since that fateful evening, I have continued my fruit salad-less streak, a little older and a heck of a lot wiser. One might almost say that I am developing a keen “Street Sense” after that.
*Names have been changed to protect the identities of those who both bring the party and are the party.
** Names have been changed to protect those who just wanted to spend their night cooking curried butternut squash soup not watching me unknowingly foray into the underbelly of debauchery and crime.
Also, it might not have been cantaloupe that I inadvertently sold, but for the sake of my grandparents who are regular readers of this blog, let’s just pretend it was.